Plex app turns 4th-gen Apple TV into personal media server

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2015
Adding to the quickly growing list of new Apple TV apps, media server solution Plex issued its hotly anticipated tvOS app on Monday with support for local content playback, Internet channels and more.




Like its iOS and Mac counterparts, the official Plex app for tvOS interfaces with Plex Media Server to stream locally stored movies, TV shows, music and photos directly to Apple TV for big screen viewing. For Plex Pass subscribers, the app also includes streaming content from Vimeo, TED Talks, Soundcloud and more.

Using TVML as it works on a truly native app, Plex lets users browse their personal media library while pulling in information from the Web, including Rotten Tomatoes ratings, related content, trailers and more. The app also supports advanced search options allowing those with larger personal libraries to search by actor, director and genre, among others.

Music receives similar treatment with artist bios, album cover art, playlist support and granular search functions.

Plex for Apple TV also supports Plex Companion, a cross-platform remote control system built into iOS and Android versions of the Plex app.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    kent909kent909 Posts: 703member
    Why would I want this? What content capability does it provide that I cannot duplicate through the Apple ecosystem?
  • Reply 2 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post



    Why would I want this? What content capability does it provide that I cannot duplicate through the Apple ecosystem?



    Watching all those blue-rays one has copied to digital format and organized into a easily accessible and searchable library. 

     

    Plus, it supports channels.. I was able to add TWIT.TV and a few other podcast style shows with it. It also can support DVBLink DVR server with an Add-on, so I can watch live OTA HD TV through my Apple TV... Was surprised about that; works well.

     

    So, yeah.. a lot.

  • Reply 3 of 50
    jason98jason98 Posts: 761member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post



    Why would I want this? What content capability does it provide that I cannot duplicate through the Apple ecosystem?

     

     

    What is actually missing in a new Apple TV is Safari. A lot of content is available nowadays for stream in mp4 format which is hard to access without being able to navigate within a browser. I could imagine VLC player would release an app for Apple TV one day, but then you will have to type in the url of a stream to watch.

  • Reply 4 of 50
    focherfocher Posts: 638member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post



    Why would I want this? What content capability does it provide that I cannot duplicate through the Apple ecosystem?



    With a Plex Media Server in place, I can access all of my home content - including anything in the iTunes folder structure - from any device and from anywhere. I can even sync while on the road. It also allows me to play content that isn't already in a media format supported by the Apple ecosystem by transcoding it in real time.

     

    With Plex, I've never felt that the features are held hostage to the competing business needs of making iTunes Store content "just a little more convenient" than content I already own.

  • Reply 5 of 50
    You cannot record the Audio Codecs from Blu Ray and expect to play them back with all the Audio choices intact. So Plex still seems to offer no more than ATV will provide....that said... I owned the original ATV because it had a hard drive that let me stream my ripped Music (and yes you cannot record SACD or DVD Audio either)....so I currently see no advantage over my Mini Mac to get the new ATV either.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,971member

    I believe this is a good thing. However, as many people, I think Plex users are minority. I don't believe many people will use it. It's good to have for some people by the way. I rather have Amazon app over Plex since I don't usually watch again those movies I already watched. Nowadays, streaming live media takes over almost everything. Storing movies in library is so 5-10 years ago. I can't even watch everything currently offered in Netflix, Amazon, HBO Go and broadcasting contents in NBC, CBS, ABC or Fox...

  • Reply 7 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jason98 View Post

     

     

     

    What is actually missing in a new Apple TV is Safari. A lot of content is available nowadays for stream in mp4 format which is hard to access without being able to navigate within a browser. I could imagine VLC player would release an app for Apple TV one day, but then you will have to type in the url of a stream to watch.




    Apple specifically excluded webkit from Apple TV.  Therefore, there will be NO, ZERO, NADA web browsers or even web page views on Apple TV. 

    Any developer will have to do heavy lifting to bring web streaming to the Apple TV.  It is doable. Simply look at the YouTube App for Apple TV. And there's the HULU app for TV. 

  • Reply 8 of 50
    focher wrote: »

    With a Plex Media Server in place, I can access all of my home content - including anything in the iTunes folder structure - from any device and from anywhere. I can even sync while on the road. It also allows me to play content that isn't already in a media format supported by the Apple ecosystem by transcoding it in real time.

    With Plex, I've never felt that the features are held hostage to the competing business needs of making iTunes Store content "just a little more convenient" than content I already own.
    How are you able to access your content remotely? Does Plex manage the "connection" to your home machine?
    Thanks
  • Reply 9 of 50
    I've been a die-hard AppleTV user for several years, but I'm starting to abandon it for Roku in the last few months. We recently purchased a RokuTV (not the streaming box, but the Sharp Roku TV) and we hardly even use AppleTV any longer. We can stream everything from Plex, Netflix or Ultraviolet. The only thing we use the AppleTV for now is mirroring laptops. We've moved everything local from iTunes to Plex. The interface isn't quite as clean, but otherwise, it's the same experience.
  • Reply 10 of 50

    You still do not need Plex

    You can either put all your videos into iTunes library on a Mac and use Home Sharing, or use AirParrot to stream it from the Mac to ATV.

  • Reply 10 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Plex app turns 4th-gen Apple TV into personal media server


     

    Actually... your computer is the personal media server. Plex on the new Apple TV is only a player of such content. You need their server app installed on your machine for this.

  • Reply 12 of 50
    Those who don't understand watching something over and over again must not have kids... I don't have a DVD player but have ripped all the kid shows into Plex. Awesome to view from iPad and now ATV4

    If it doesn't provide value for you... Move on.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dchao99 View Post

     

    You still do not need Plex

    You can either put all your videos into iTunes library on a Mac and use Home Sharing, or use AirParrot to stream it from the Mac to ATV.




    That's not an option for people with laptops and large libraries. I have all my movies and TV shows stored in NAS. Now with Plex server installed on my NAS I can do what I was not able to do with Apple TV 3rd gen and that's playing my movies and TV shows without AirPlay from an iOS device.

  • Reply 14 of 50
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Michael_C View Post





    How are you able to access your content remotely? Does Plex manage the "connection" to your home machine?

    Thanks



    Yes.

  • Reply 15 of 50
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by acgmph View Post

     

     

    Actually... your computer is the personal media server. Plex on the new Apple TV is only a player of such content. You need their server app installed on your machine for this.




    Yeah. Whoever wrote this article doesn't really understand what Plex is. It won't turn your Apple TV into a media server. It will just turn it into a media server client. You still need a machine (PC/Mac/NAS) with Plex server running in it.

  • Reply 16 of 50
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,580member
    I tried Plex recently, installed on my Mac mini server. It added my iTunes as a channel but just dumped all videos, tv shows and movies, into the movies folder under Plex. One massive list of 4000 videos.

    I tried adding the movie folder locations manually but it only seemed to take a single location which was no good as I have movies on 3 different drives.

    Gave up and stuck to iTunes.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    What video formats does Plex for Apple tv support? Can it play mkv files?
  • Reply 18 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

     



    That's not an option for people with laptops and large libraries. I have all my movies and TV shows stored in NAS. Now with Plex server installed on my NAS I can do what I was not able to do with Apple TV 3rd gen and that's playing my movies and TV shows without AirPlay from an iOS device.




    And this is what I hope Apple will someday provide with iTunes. I've got a Mac Mini running as my media server. I'd rather just have a NAS with iTunes being capable of reading and streaming it.

  • Reply 19 of 50
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BestKeptSecret View Post

     



    And this is what I hope Apple will someday provide with iTunes. I've got a Mac Mini running as my media server. I'd rather just have a NAS with iTunes being capable of reading and streaming it.




    I gave up waiting on Apple to provide that solutions and to be honest I don't think they will ever do. They want you to buy/rent movies and TV shows from iTunes and I can understand that.

     

    Do what I did. I bought Synology 2-bay NAS (case only) and bought 2 HDDs and set them up as RAID 1. I use the Time Capsule for backup only with Time Machine (2 MacBooks) and the NAS for media and file storage. I only have Music in my iTunes library.

     

    I can access my files anywhere from any device. I am very happy with the setup.

  • Reply 20 of 50
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dchao99 View Post

     

    You still do not need Plex

    You can either put all your videos into iTunes library on a Mac and use Home Sharing, 


    But you cannot search your iTunes library from the AppleTV (new or old) unless it was purchased from iTunes.

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